Japanese GP: Tech 3 race report

Edwards romps to season best finish in Yamaha's home race Colin Edwards made a stunning return to the top six in MotoGP this afternoon, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider producing his best performance of 2010 to finish in a richly deserved ...

Edwards romps to season best finish in Yamaha's home race

Colin Edwards made a stunning return to the top six in MotoGP this afternoon, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider producing his best performance of 2010 to finish in a richly deserved fifth position.

With predicted rain never materialising, the 24-lap race was run in mild conditions and Edwards made a fast getaway from fifth place on the grid. He held fifth for the opening two laps, the American engaged in an exciting early fight with Italian duo Marco Simoncelli and Loris Capirossi.

Simoncelli took fifth on lap three but having comfortably pulled away from Capirossi, Edwards used all of his experience to exert intense pressure on Simoncelli. Knowing he was capable of running a much faster pace, Edwards was content to stalk Simoncelli until he made his decisive attack on lap 18.

Edwards then clearly demonstrated his superior speed, the 36-year-old opening up a three second gap on Simoncelli in the last seven laps to secure his best finish since the final round of 2009 in Valencia.

A sixth successive start from the second row of the grid had raised expectations that Ben Spies could continue his outstanding recent form. But a mistake under braking at turn five forced him into the gravel trap on lap two. Spies lost eight seconds with the off-track excursion and dropped down to 15th before he embarked on an enthralling recovery.

The Texan showcased his overtaking skills with a series of breathtaking moves that delighted a large contingent of Yamaha supporters in the 40,113-strong crowd . Lapping close to the pace of the leading group in the final stages after gambling with a radically revised front and rear suspension set-up, Spies clawed his way back into the top ten on lap 12 and eventually finished in eighth.

Colin Edwards - Position: 5th - Time: +27.092

"In terms of the result I'm really happy because it is my first top six finish of the year and I think it was deserved after all the hard work the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team and me have been putting in to improve our results. And it is always good to get a result in Japan with the race being so important for Yamaha and the Tech 3 Team. I rode good all weekend and was only four-tenths off pole, but what I'm a little disappointed about is that I'm 27 seconds behind the winner. That's a big chunk of time and I'm riding as hard as I can. I feel comfortable and I feel good on the bike now we improved the setting but I guess we just have to shoot for being top non-factory rider. It was hard in the first few laps because I didn't have a lot of feel in the left-side of the rear tyre. But once I got confident, Simoncelli passed me but I was happy just to sit behind him and study him, check where I was faster while making sure I wasn't going to leave the door open for Capirossi. I think my rear tyre had good grip for a little bit longer than Simoncelli's and I managed to pass him, put my head down for a couple of laps and managed to pull a gap."

Ben Spies - Position: 8th - Time: +35.572

"Considering everything that happened this weekend with me not being totally happy with the bike and then running off early on, I'm extremely happy to finish eighth, especially coming from 15th. We made a big change to the bike before the race with the geometry in the front and I ran a rear shock that we hadn't run all weekend and i t was a big step. It was a big gamble but it paid off. The front was a bit better in the turns and we definitely had better traction and it made the bike a bit easier to ride and more confidence inspiring. Going into turn five I think Loris was in front of me and it seemed like he braked really, really early. To avoid hitting him I had to move over and get on the kerb and run off track. After my pace in the warm-up I was wondering how I would be able to fight with anybody but I made some passes and I never gave up. I rode as hard as I could and while it wasn't my best result it was still a really good race. Even coming through the field I was still turning some really fast laps that without the mistake would have given me a chance of running in the top five."

Herve Poncharal - Team Manager
"I am very happy with today's race and I think Colin and Ben performed at their m aximum in the home race for Yamaha. We were determined to do well for Yamaha and I don't think we disappointed with both of them performing incredibly well. I think everybody at Yamaha and the Japanese fans really enjoyed the way both of them performed. Colin had by far his best result of the season and this weekend he has been back to the outstanding form he showed all last season. He's been working hard with his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew for several races now to improve and this weekend that effort paid off. He had a good battle with Simoncelli that Colin won comfortably and I think we saw he used his experience today. It was unfortunate that Ben ran off the track so early because his potential was much higher than eighth. His fighting spirit was unbelievable and he never gave up and his lap times at the end would have easily put him in the top five. He demonstrated his determination today and after a positive winter test at Sepang, I'm confident he can be challenging bac k at the front again in Malaysia next weekend."

-source: tech 3

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Colin Edwards , Ben Spies , Marco Simoncelli , Herve Poncharal
Teams Tech 3